GLENDALE – Defenseman Chris Summers was set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time on July 1, but returning to the Coyotes was the most appealing option.
"I definitely wanted to come back and be part of the Coyotes," Summers said on Monday after signing a two-year contract with Phoenix. "I’m very happy we worked something out and I'm happy we worked it out so quickly in the off-season. It puts my mind and my family at ease."
Summers, 26, played 18 games for the Coyotes in 2013-14, and he notched two goals and one assist, including his first NHL goal on March 15 vs. Calgary. He averaged 14:55 per game and his plus/minus rating was a career-best 0.
"I really, really like playing under the direction of Dave Tippett," Summers said. "I think he’s a tremendous coach. I know what to expect from him and I think he knows what to expect from me. Our relationship is good and I think that goes for my relationship with management as well."
The Coyotes drafted Summers with the 29th overall pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He played two games, 21 games and six games in his first three seasons with the team and spent the rest of the time playing in the American Hockey League in those three seasons. Phoenix recalled him from the AHL in March of last season and he was a regular in the lineup by season’s end.
"Chris took a big step forward this past season," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. "He improved his puck game, was firm in all of his decisions and showed confidence to carry the puck up ice when the opportunity presented itself. He is the perfect example of the patience needed to allow draft picks to mature at their own pace. He has become a regular NHL defenseman and we are happy he will remain with us."
Summers is pleased with the length of his new contract.
"I’m very happy that we could do a multi-year deal instead of just a one-year contract," Summers said. "I’ve grown to love the community in Arizona. I think we have a terrific arena with a great atmosphere, and we’ve seen a huge growth in the overall support from the fans since the new ownership group came in last year."
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